Slovakia Healthcare System & Insurance Options for Expats
The healthcare system of Slovakia is free for all its citizens and residents. However, there is a mandatory contribution to The National Health Insurance system. Citizens will contribute to their health insurance plans based on their income. Expats, digital nomads, and global citizens from the EU states may use the health insurance policies in Slovakia as well. As long as they contribute to the national insurance system. The standard of care, modern infrastructure, and equipment are not up to other European countries’ standards. Therefore, some expats may prefer to seek treatment in Vienna.
Overview of Healthcare in Slovakia
Several factors contribute to the healthcare system of Slovakia. Namely, universal population coverage, mandatory health insurance, basic benefits, and selective contracting of healthcare providers. Each citizen and resident is responsible for contributing an insurance fee to the nationalized system. Therefore, there is a direct deduction from the salary of an individual.
The public hospitals of the country are primarily understaffed and underfunded. Private healthcare and medical facilities are expensive, which poses a significant burden on patients. Therefore, we advise expats to secure an international private health insurance plan before gaining access to private facilities in Slovakia. Most private medical facilities have multilingual or English-speaking staff.
Furthermore, it is essential to visit your doctor a month before departing to Slovakia. The CDC has information on vaccinations expats, and travelers should get before traveling.
How the Slovakian Healthcare System Works for Expats?
Healthcare tourism in Slovakia is centered on the umpteen natural spas spread across the country. These spas are loaded with mineral and thermal properties. The tourism market of healthcare also revolves around people seeking low-cost, high-quality dentistry and cosmetic surgery. The combination of traditional rejuvenation and modern medicine works well with expats exploring the general ‘wellness’ spa concept.
The low-cost, high-quality clinics are available for travelers, expats, and medical tourists in most major cities. Cities such as Bratislava, Banska Bystrica, and Kosice has modern facilities and English-speaking staff.
Public Healthcare in Slovakia
Post-decentralization and privatization of the 1990s, there was a change in the healthcare system in Slovakia. From being a centralized public system to being a health insurance system with an added element of public investment changed the nature of public healthcare in its entirety. The understaffed and underfunded public hospitals of Slovakia tend to push its citizens, residents, and expats towards availing private healthcare facilities. These private services are not easy to buy either due to the high cost. The citizens of the European Union can obtain medical facilities at the public hospitals of Slovakia. But travelers and expats who are not the residents of either Slovakia or the European Union will require to pay for medical services upfront.
Private Healthcare in Slovakia
The public healthcare infrastructure and medical facilities in Slovakia are relatively decent. However, people prefer to travel to neighboring countries, like Austria, Poland, or Germany, to get treatments. Therefore, we advise expats, digital nomads, and global citizens to purchase a comprehensive private health insurance plan before visiting the country. The insurance policy must cover medical evacuation in the event of an emergency.
Emergency Medical Services in Slovakia
The ambulance services are free of cost for the owners of the state and the commercial insurance packages as well. Ambulances are, usually, well equipped. If you do not have private health insurance, you can still obtain ambulance services during an emergency at the cost of 120 Euros.
Medicines and Pharmacies
It is worth noting that the EU Health Insurance Card is not a substitute for travel or medical insurance. Therefore, it does not provide coverage to any ongoing medical treatment. Hence, it is vital to get the right prescriptions to buy medicines in Slovakia. You must have a prescription to buy medicines. On the other hand, over-the-counter medications are costly.
Prescription medication may not be covered by insurance. The insurance companies may partially or wholly compensate for it. Expats and tourists are required to pay upfront after receiving the treatment.
Best Private International Medical Insurance Plans for Expats in Slovakia
Expats, digital nomads, and global citizens who are in the process of moving or visiting the country must purchase a comprehensive international health insurance policy that provides coverage to overseas medical evacuation and airlifting in case of a medical emergency. Cigna Global and Allianz International offer some of the best international insurance plans which are generally accepted by public healthcare institutions and private hospitals of Slovakia.